By Curtis Johnson
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The Cabell County man authorities say killed two men with one of 54 firearms he possessed rarely walked outside, according to his neighbors along Lane and Old Crow drives south of Barboursville.
Shirley Hiles lived across from the street from Rodney Black for five years. Her family moved to Georgia in November, but her now 9-year-old daughter routinely played Frisbee, baseball and chase in the adjacent yard where Black is charged with killing new property owner Garrick Hopkins, 60, and his brother Carl Hopkins Jr., 61.
The shooting happened about 2:30 p.m. Saturday as the brothers toured the L-shaped, near-acre tract of land. Court documents allege Black spotted two men shaking the door of a nearby shed, grabbed his .243-caliber rifle and fired the fatal gunshots without warning from a bedroom window approximately 120 feet away.
Hiles remembered sharing an occasional greeting with Black’s late mother, but she never recalled saying as much as hello to Black. He maintained ownership of the residence upon his mother’s death in July 2010, while his sister Judy Ranson assumed responsibility for selling the adjacent property as part of administering her mother’s estate.
“We called him the weird guy, because he didn’t interact,” Hiles said.
Black told investigators he used a Remington Model 700, .243-caliber rifle to shoot the Hopkins brothers. He fired the gunshots from an upstairs bedroom, which a search warrant affidavit filed by the Cabell County Sheriff’s Office described as locked with a dead bolt upon the deputies’ arrival.
The search warrant revealed 54 firearms, which consisted of 37 long guns and 17 handguns, according to a property receipt filed in Cabell County Magistrate Court. Included in the cache was a wide variety of shotguns, rifles and muzzleloaders, such as a Remington 12-gauge double-barrel shotgun, a Russian M91 and a Colt AR-15.
Hiles never knew of her neighbor’s arsenal…